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Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - Martin Shkreli Raised the Price of an HIV Drug By 5,500 Percent. Here's How To Stop It From Happening Again

December 09, 2015

Hillary's plan to take on prescription price gouging would have prevented it.

Imagine the life-saving pill you've been relying on for years costs $13.50 per tablet. Then one morning, you wake up and that same pill suddenly costs $750 per tablet.

Sound like a nightmare? It actually happened.

A company called Turing purchased a 62-year-old drug used most frequently as therapy for HIV patients. Then they ratcheted the price up by more than 5,550 percent overnight—just to turn a profit.

What Turing did was perfectly legal under our current laws. It's a particularly egregious example of a wider problem: Pharmaceutical companies are earning between $80 and $90 billion in profits by charging middle-class families thousands of dollars for their prescriptions, often at significantly higher prices in the U.S.

Prescription drugs should be affordable for all Americans.

We've got to fight to make sure that American families and seniors aren't being robbed by an industry that focuses on profits, not patients. We won't be able to stop every actor like Martin Shkreli, but there's a lot we can do to make the pharmaceutical industry fairer for every American?—and Hillary's already getting started.

Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I'll lay out a plan to take it on. -H https://t.co/9Z0Aw7aI6h— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 21, 2015

After Hillary called out Martin Shkreli, he announced he would reduce the price ... by 10%.?

A 10% price reduction is insulting. As I've said before, the FDA and FTC need to step in to protect consumers. https://t.co/guopHDGOBz -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 5, 2015

Here are four ways we can stop companies from price-gouging patients in the future.

1. Require drug companies to spend a minimum on research and development, not profits and marketing.?A provision of the Affordable Care Act limits how much your insurance company could spend on overhead, including administrative costs, profits, and advertising. Hillary's plan would apply a version of this rule to drug companies. Turing and other companies would have to spend a minimum on research and development, lowering their incentive to chase ever-higher earnings through price gouging, and making more funds available for research that could lead to the development of competitor drugs.

2. Require drug companies to justify price increases.?Like Turing, many biotech companies operate on a deliberate strategy of purchasing old drugs, driving up the price, and calling them "specialty drugs." Hillary's plan invests in private organizations that serve as a second opinion for consumers and payers. By making clearer what a drug actually costs to produce, insurance companies?—?and under Hillary's plan, Medicare?—can negotiate lower rates, while giving consumers a sense of what is a ridiculous asking price and what isn't.

3. Encourage more competition.?When drugs are the only ones of their kind on the market, drug companies often charge excessive prices. Sound familiar? With more drugs on the market, companies like Turing wouldn't be able to inflate prices without concern for competition.

4. Require health insurance plans to place a monthly limit of $250 on covered out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.?This would lift a huge burden for patients with chronic or serious health conditions, and would ensure Americans can get the care their doctors prescribe. Up to a million Americans could benefit from this proposal every year.

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Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - Martin Shkreli Raised the Price of an HIV Drug By 5,500 Percent. Here's How To Stop It From Happening Again Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/317337

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